Top Sports Power Weekends: March 11-13

By Jared Cooper



March Madness is officially upon us as conference tournaments get underway this week. They come to a head this weekend with automatic bids and Big Dance dreams on the line. Throw in some Spring Training in beautiful Phoenix and central Florida, as well as NBA and NHL action, and the Sports Power Weekends are plentiful in mid-March.

I present to you the 10 best Sports Power Weekends of March 11-13. To purchase a Sports Power Weekend package, please contact us at info@SPWtravel.com.

1. New York City

Friday
  • Big East Tournament semifinals
  • Los Angeles Clippers at New Jersey Nets
Saturday
  • Big East Tournament finals
  • New York Islanders at New Jersey Devils
Sunday
  • Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks

There are nearly one dozen teams in the Big East alone fighting for a spot or positioning in the NCAA Tournament. With such a high level of competition, the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden is the best place to be during conference tournament weekend. Throw in a Knicks game on Sunday featuring their new star Carmelo Anthony, and this is a great Sports Power Weekend option in mid-March.

Also see: New York City Guide

2. Los Angeles

Friday
  • Pac-10 Tournament semifinals
Saturday
  • Pac-10 Tournament finals
Sunday
  • Phoenix Coyotes at Anaheim Ducks

The Pac-10 Tournament returns to the Staples Center in Los Angeles, giving the UCLA and USC fans a bit of a home court edge. Don’t tell that to Arizona and Washington, however. They aim to take the conference crown and ride the momentum into the Big Dance.

Also see: Los Angeles City Guide

3. Atlanta

Friday
  • SEC Tournament quarterfinals
  • New Jersey Devils at Atlanta Thrashers
Saturday
  • SEC Tournament semifinals
  • Portland Trail Blazers at Atlanta Hawks
Sunday
  • SEC Tournament finals

The SEC Tournament at the Georgia Dome coincides with Thrashers and Hawks games at Philips Arena in the Georgia World Congress Center over the weekend. Those are some nice options for the Florida and Kentucky fans, among others, who may be making the trip to Atlanta.

Also see: Atlanta City Guide

4. Greensboro, NC

Friday
  • ACC Tournament quarterfinals
  • Portland Trail Blazers at Charlotte Bobcats
Saturday
  • ACC Tournament semifinals
  • Columbus Blue Jackets at Carolina Hurricanes
Sunday
  • ACC Tournament finals

Greensboro is about an hour and a half from both Charlotte and Raleigh, making it possible to check out the Bobcats or Hurricanes games taking place on Friday and Saturday. No worries if you don’t make that day trip, though. The ACC Tournament provides enough excitement as it is, especially with the Duke and UNC crowds coming out in force.

5. Indianapolis

Friday
  • Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals
Saturday
  • Big Ten Tournament semifinals
Sunday
  • Big Ten Tournament finals

Contrary to much of the outside general opinion about Indianapolis, this town knows how to put on events. With indoor walkways connecting many of the hotels to the mall and convention center, visitors rarely have to brave the cold to get where they are going. Downtown not only features Lucas Oil Stadium, but also Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers and the Big Ten Tournament. The Big Ten is deep and has been cited as the best conference in the country by a number of analysts, so this weekend has a chance to be special.

6. Kansas City

Friday
  • Big XII Tournament semifinals
Saturday
  • Big XII Tournament finals
Sunday

The Sprint Center may lack an anchor tenant, but that is not reflective of the world-class facility that this is. Kansas City will host its 10th Big XII Tournament, more than any other city, and their event staff will be auditioning for a potential NBA team in the coming years. Be sure to check out the College Basketball Hall of Fame and some of their great BBQ joints while in town.

7. Phoenix

Friday
  • Spring Training
Saturday
  • Spring Training
Sunday
  • Magic at Suns
  • Spring Training

While the top college basketball conference tournaments dominated the first six spots on the list, a familiar entry makes it way in at number seven. Cactus League action in the Phoenix area is a great way to whet your appetite for Opening Day, and Sunday brings a change in gears as the Orlando Magic head west to play the Suns at the US Airways Center.

8. Tampa Bay

Friday
  • Senators at Lightning
  • Spring Training
Saturday
  • Spring Training
Sunday
  • Spring Training

The St. Pete Times Forum will be the place to be on Friday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning push for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Additionally, Grapefruit League action in Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater make for a relaxing and fun rest of the weekend.

9. Washington, D.C.

Friday
  • Hurricanes at Capitals
Saturday
  • Clippers at Wizards
Sunday
  • Blackhawks at Capitals

The Verizon Center will get plenty of play this weekend with two Capitals games bracketing a Wizards game on Saturday. You will get a chance to see some of the brightest stars in sports as Alex Ovechkin takes the ice twice for Caps, and rookie phenoms John Wall and Blake Griffin hit the hardwood as the Los Angeles Clippers visit the Wizards.

10. Las Vegas

Friday
  • Mountain West Tournament semifinals
  • WAC Tournament semifinals
Saturday
  • Mountain West Tournament finals
  • WAC Tournament finals
Sunday

The MWC and WAC both hold their conference tournaments in Las Vegas, in the Thomas & Mack Center and Orleans Arena, respectively. I would suspect that fans heading to these tournaments are doing so more for the location than the basketball itself, but to each his own. Enjoy the festivities.

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